Officials from member countries of the Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have validated the feasibility study for the construction of a 150 MWp regional solar park in The Gambia. The facility will be connected to the West African Power Pool (WAPP).
The construction of a regional solar power plant is becoming clearer in West Africa. The facility will be built in The Gambia under the coordination of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). A meeting to validate the feasibility study of this regional project was recently validated at a meeting organized by the West African Power Pool (WAPP) in the Gambian capital Banjul.
The meeting was attended by officials from the national electricity companies of the member countries of the Organization for the Development of the Gambia River Basin (OMVG), the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA) and the World Bank. The plant will be built in two phases on a 225-hectare site identified since 2019 by the Gambian authorities, in Soma, a town located in central Gambia, near the border with Senegal. This is a strategic site as it is located near an OMVG 225/30 kV substation.
Selling electricity in four West African countries
With a capacity of 80 MWp, the first phase of the solar photovoltaic power plant will serve the domestic needs of The Gambia. This West African country has one of the lowest installed capacities in the sub-region, at 167 MW according to the authorities, who are counting on a capacity of 250 MW by the end of 2025. In 2020, the country had an electricity access rate of 62.3% for a population estimated by the World Bank to be 2.4 million.
Part of the electricity produced (70 MWp) by the regional solar power plant installed in The Gambia will be fed into the regional grid operated by OMVG. This second phase, which will be completed in 2026, will sell clean electricity to the state-owned companies Electricité de Guinée (EDG), Electricidade e Aguas da Guine-Bissau (EAGB), and the Société nationale d’électricité du Sénégal (SENELEC).
In 2019, the Gambian authorities were considering the installation of a battery storage system with a capacity of 100 to 150 MWh, to compensate for the intermittency associated with the production of solar photovoltaic energy. In addition to the World Bank, the project is also supported by the European Investment Bank (EIB), which has pledged $164 million in funding.
Jean Marie Takouleu